Tunisian inspired necklaces by Pamela Good Walla Walla

Exotic Tunisia & Walla Walla Wine Country — The Jewelry of Pamela Good

Tunisian inspired necklaces by Pamela Good Walla Walla

A touch of Tunisia: necklaces by Pamela Good, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

They’re called souks — marketplaces or commercial quarters in Western Asia or North Africa, and most of us know what they “feel” like by imagining ourselves in the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The sights, sounds, smells, colors, people (even without the evil, black-robed swordsman confronting Indie), are all very exotic, alluringly unfamiliar in a fascinatingly romantic sort of way.

Tunisia inspired jewelry by Pamela Good Walla Walla

Tunisia-inspired jewelry by Pamela Good of Walla Walla

But for Walla Walla jewelry artist Pamela Good, who was born in Tunisia and has lived there, off and on, throughout her life, souks remind her of urban ethnic flea markets in the U.S. and Mexico.

“What makes the Tunisian Medinas so different are the narrow alleyways and switchbacks, the intense sounds of people talking a variety of languages, carts moving products, copper and brass hammerings and vendors calling to get your attention as you walk by,” Good says.

During a prolonged residence in North Africa during the 1970s and 80s, Good regularly walked the jewelry souks of Tunis, Sfax, and Djerba, seeking vintage beads, ancient findings, and precious and semi-precious stones to incorporate in her earrings and necklaces. One of her favorite merchants with which to work was Monsieur Ahmed, who through the years became a friend as well, tucking aside special finds for Good’s review.

Cork earrings walla walla wine country pamela good

Cork earrings, celebrating Walla Walla Wine Country, by Pamela Good.

“The first time I met him, he invited me for tea, and sitting inside his shop I shared what I was  looking for and how I was interested in designing jewelry integrating my Tunisian culture,” Good remembers. Afternoons with Monsieur Ahmed involved “sweet tea with almonds floating on top in a gold rimmed glass, and a tray of beads, stones, and/or vintage silver pieces.”

Some of these treasures Good still possesses, incorporating them in special designs that she creates as part of her jewelry business, which she focuses on outside her day job as program manager at AVID, an educational organization preparing students for success in high school, college, and career.

Necklaces earrings tunisia touch walla walla jewelry artist pamela good

Necklaces and earrings, with a touch of Tunisia, by Walla Walla jewelry artist Pamela Good

“The arts should be woven into everything we do with kids,” Good says concerning both her job and her art. “I have always believed that everyone can be an artist — you can draw, paint, make jewelry, learn to ride a bike.”

In addition to knowing how to do all of these things, Good possesses a few skills out of the American norm, one of which is speaking Arabic. This she acquired through concerted study; interacting with Tunisian family, friends, and co-workers; and co-owning Auberge de la Falaise, a Brasserie French restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Dressing appropriately for the culture by wearing a head scarf and keeping her arms and legs covered, Good avoided, during her market forays, being mistaken for a tourist, and her happiest souk day occurred when one of the vendors asked if she was Algerian.

“I laughed and thanked him and told him that I was American.

“He could not believe that I was speaking to him in Arabic, and called over people to tell them, ‘This American girl speaks Arabic!’

“They were happy and I was delighted!”

Earrings touch of tunisia walla walla jewelry artist pamela good

Earrings with a touch of Tunisia by Walla Walla jewelry artist Pamela Good

A member of the Walla Walla Art Club and Art Walla, Good enjoys the challenge of making jewelry from found objects, and while there are no souks in the Pacific Northwest, Good haunts vintage and antique stores. She also finds creative use for items immediately — although not obviously — at hand.

“Recently, I was inspired by an artist from Santa Fe who was using cork and Native American seed beads to create earrings,” Good says. “I thought of all the cork we use and then throw away after opening our wine bottles in the Walla Walla Valley, and decided to create a series of wine cork earrings — each are unique, most with sterling posts and semi-precious gems. Others include metals, wire wrap, pearls, crystals, and glass.”

They all look exotic, testament to a lifetime spent learning, traveling, and experimenting. With two or three themes going on at a time, Good finds her jewelry collections changing, evolving with her, her environment, and what she finds — here, or a quarter of the way across the planet.

“The last time I visited Tunisia was in 2012, two years after the Arab Spring,” Good says.

“The Medina and jewelry souks are exactly like they were when I had lived there from 1977-1984.

“There are a lot more imitations; prices have risen, and many old pieces are now seen as antiques, but I would return in a heartbeat!

“I love the chase of vintage pieces and am always excited to incorporate them in my work.”

Wenaha Gallery

Pamela Good is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, April 24 through Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bright, Shiny Jewelry — The Corvidae-Inspired Art of Rachelle Moore

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace, jewelry by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies — while members of the Corvidae family are notorious for raucous dissonance, they also possess a captivating charm that invites jewelry maker Rachelle Moore to their fan club:

They like shiny things.

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets by Rachelle Moore

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“I love shiny things!” the Kennewick artist exclaims, explaining why she named her business Corvidae Fine Art, reflecting a lifelong enthrallment of birds with their refinement and intelligence. “Sparkles and elegant jewelry and gem and mineral specimens of hematite, selenite, and quartz are always trying to take over the surfaces of my work space.

“I can lose countless hours to the joy of crafting in silver or bronze metal, making mini enduring wearable sculptures to combine with sparkling gemstones. I like to imagine these will exist and be enjoyed for many years,” Moore says.

Because like many humans on the planet, Moore does not find herself with actual countless hours, she efficiently juggles the ones she has, incorporating a full-time job as a nurse and subsequent 90-minute commute back to her rural studio space/apartment on Weston Mountain with her art business.

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings by Rachelle Moore

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Creativity with both time and physical materials is a skill she learned young, from a child homeschooled in the mountains with her siblings, and refined in her late teens, when she started crafting earrings, beaded hair pins, and accessories to help pay for college.

“This was so successful and enjoyable that I started my own small business in 2007 selling my jewelry,” Moore says.

“I have been artistic for as long as I can remember.

“I suppose what started it was wanting to capture and save some of the beauty around me.”

Feeding her appreciation of beauty was a voracious appetite for reading, and Moore spent (and still spends) hours consuming “marvelous stories” such as Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Narnia Chronicles series.

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches by Rachelle Moore

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“These books among others helped inspire my love of adventure, travel, and trying to capture those fantastic images in my imagination to share in one form or another,” Moore says.

“Many of the pieces I have made, I picture in my head as part of a bigger, fantastic world.”

Moore sells her work on her etsy shop, under the name CorvidaeFineArt, and has participated in ArtSquared, ArtWalla’s annual fundraiser benefiting area arts education, and the Walla Popup Juried Art Show, as well as kept a booth at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market. She also creates customized commissioned pieces, which she describes as her most rewarding, yet stressful projects.

“I remember a custom commission I did of a bronze sculptured and carved dragon necklace with many rubies and sapphires. I wound myself up wondering if the customer would like the character of the dragon as I created the layers and the dragon came to life.

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“In the end, my customer loved the piece, and I have seen her wearing it so many times. It makes me happy to know she enjoys wearing it.”

Moore makes a point of not replicating or repeating her designs, because she values the individuality and uniqueness of something that is handmade. And while this is time consuming, the end result is something both she, and the wearer, feel incredibly good about.

“If someone owns a piece of my jewelry, it will be something special and a little different than what anyone else has.”

Working with precious metals and components that require torch firing or time in a kiln at 1200-1600 degrees is a lesson of rolling with the unexpected. Holding her breath upon opening the cooled kiln, Moore never knows if a piece will emerge as planned, not quite as planned — “There’s always a risk of random inclusions . . . having caused a small explosion or microscopic cracks” — or better than planned, the artist’s equivalent to Christmas morning, any time of year.

This is a fitting analogy, because to Moore, art is a gift that is part of her life, no matter where she lives, and no matter what else she does. It neatly compliments her career as a registered nurse, in which each patient requires a balance of time, energy and dedication.

“At the end of each work day I take home a sense of connection and peace in knowing I worked hard to make a positive difference in another human’s life while they were in a challenging part of their life.

“Having art to make on my days off is a welcome change of pace and a different kind of challenge.”

Wenaha GalleryRachelle Moore is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, February 27, through Saturday, March 25.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

 

 

Ceramic leaf dishes by Jane Holly Estrada

Falling Leaves and Radiochemistry — The Ceramic Art of Jane Holly Estrada

Ceramic leaf dishes by Jane Holly Estrada leaves

A series of ceramic leaf dishes by Jane Holly Estrada sits atop a granite Lazy Susan by Terry Hoon

In her day job, Jane Holly Estrada is a radiochemist, dealing with a concept — radiation — that many people rightly or wrongly associate with loooooooooong periods of time.

But when the white lab jacket is hung up at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the day, Estrada focuses strongly on the ephemeral, the temporal —  fleeting moments of transitory time in which she captures a moment in nature and transforms it into a state of permanence.

Gold bordered blue ceramic leaf (leaves) dish by Jane Holly Estrada

Gold highlights and a dotted border on an individual leaf dish by Jane Holly Estrada

Working in the field of ceramics, the Richland, WA, artist creates jewelry and shaped dishes inspired by the leaves of trees, but not just any leaves. Estrada’s window of time is a short one in autumn, after the leaves have fallen off the tree naturally but while they are still crisp enough to leave a literal impression upon clay.

“Each dish I make is created by pressing a real leaf into the clay and shaping it into a unique small dish, which is then painted with watercolor style underglazes,” Estrada explains.

“The dish is then glazed all over, fired, and painted with real gold and white gold accents.

“The final product is a mirror image of the now long-gone leaf, but embellished with swirls of color, texture, and metallic gilding.”

Set in a few clear sentences, the process seems straightforward and direct, but as with any area dealing with chemical and physical alteration — whether the matter has to do with art, science or a fusion of the two — things just aren’t that simple. Stuff happens.

ceramic and gold bead necklaces in blue and green by Jane Holly Estrada

Ceramic and gold bead necklaces in rich variants of blue and green, by Jane Holly Estrada

The biggest challenge of working with clay, Estrada says, is that no matter how careful the artist is during the process, there’s always a chance for the unexpected to occur. Work can crack if it dries too quickly, or even if it is gently bumped at the wrong time.

“Each trip through the kiln is a chance for cracking, warping, and even exploding,” Estrada adds. “Glazes can run, crawl, craze and drip — all things that can either ruin your work or make it amazing.

“Most of my pieces go through the kiln three to four times, each time a gamble.”

The upshot of it all is that even the most scientific of approaches can’t guarantee the outcome, but like life itself, that’s part of the challenge.

“The benefit is that if your work survives its creation process, it becomes a durable and lasting piece of art in a way that a more ephemeral piece of paper or canvas cannot compare,” Estrada observes.

A collection of painted rocks and mandala stones by jane holly estrada

A collection of painted rocks and Mandala Stones by Jane Holly Estrada

“Clay allows the artist to create a functional object that is equally an object of beauty.”

Estrada’s leaf-based clay dishes and jewelry imbue familiar colors of  forest, sky, and water– azure, turquoise, teal, beryl, emerald, verdigris, moss, jade — with gold and silver sparkle, resulting in an alchemy of Mother Nature with human skill and ingenuity. The finished pieces are delicate yet strong, possessing a tactility that encourages viewers to pick up, touch, hold, turn, brush, and feel.

Because each piece is fashioned from one single, unique leaf, Estrada’s artworks are literally one of a kind at the same time that they work well together as a set or a collection — in the same manner that leaves gather while retaining their individual attributes, as well as that of their creator.

“I am not a production potter, and I (like most artists) am not  looking to compete with the factories and big box stores,” Estrada says.

“My goal is to create small pieces of beautiful art that people can have in their daily lives. My jewelry is meant to be worn and the dishes to be used.”

Close up detail of glaze and gold luster of a ceramic leaf (leaves) dish by Jane Holly Estrada

Close up detail of glaze and gold luster of a ceramic leaf dish by Jane Holly Estrada

In addition to her ceramic leaf works, Estrada also paints mandala stones — smooth surfaced rocks embellished by a series of dots and color in a circular pattern. Estrada teaches the technique at Confluent, a non-profit organization in Richland that provides space and resources for community members to explore art, technology, and culture through community-based workshops and classes. She also participates in the center’s various art shows, and in the recent “Dreamers” exhibition won Best Overall piece in a public vote for her wood-substrate painting executed in the spirit of vintage post cards.

Incorporating art and science, temporal aspects and immutable, nature and fabrication, Estrada’s works are inspired by her love of water with its shifting shape, color, and ability to reflect light. And while she does not aim to make a statement, she believes that the final product is the statement itself, standing out for the time and detail that go into it.

“I’ve always loved science and trying to understand how the natural world works,” Estrada says.

“I believe that this shows through in my art.”

Wenaha GalleryJane Holly Estrada is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 30, through Saturday, February 25.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

Handcrafted kitchenware by Walla Walla woodworker Mark Thomas

Natural Beauty: Handcrafted Kitchenware by Mark Thomas

Handcrafted kitchenware by Walla Walla woodworker, Mark Thomas

Handcrafted, natural kitchenware by Walla Walla woodworker, Mark Thomas

Buy local.

Live simply.

Choose natural.

Handcrafted kitchenware by Walla Walla woodworker Mark Thomas

Handcrafted, natural kitchenware by Walla Walla woodworker Mark Thomas

For some people, these are catchy slogans on a social media meme. For others, they are New Year’s resolutions. For woodworker Mark Thomas, they are normal aspects of everyday living. The “Good Life” to which many aspire is not an unreachable dream, requiring complicated formulas and collections of inspirational marketing materials, but rather, it comes about through quiet times in nature, good times with friends, awareness and appreciation for small, ordinary things.

“These things help slow life down,” the Walla Walla artist says.

“I like making things with my hands, including food. Most of the cooking in my household is done by me, and I own quite a few cookbooks.

“I have no formal training, and am not necessarily a good cook, but I enjoy it. I like making utensils that feel good to use, and perform well.”

And therein lays the impetus behind, and inspiration for, Thomas’s hand-crafted, fine art, naturally-based, utilitarian items made from wood: spoons, spatulas, boxes, small furniture pieces, jewelry, phone docks, and kale/herb strippers, this latter one of Thomas’s more enduring and endearing best sellers.

“I’m not sure why,” he confesses.  “Perhaps it is because people love kitchen gadgets and hate picking the leaves off of cilantro. It is the only item that I sit and down and make in large batches.”

Kale and herb strippers by walla walla woodworker Mark Thomas guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Kale and Herb Strippers by Walla Walla woodworker, Mark Thomas, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Working from a studio that consists of half a two-car garage plus a spare room office in the house, Thomas uses the skills he learned as a fine artist — he holds a degree from Wright State University in Dayton, OH — to design ergonomic, comfortable to grasp items that are pleasing in shape, color, and feel. Each piece is as individual as the wood from which it is made, and a successfully finished artwork requires patience, skill, and acumen on the part of its creator.

“Working with a natural material can always be tricky,” Thomas says.

“Since a piece of wood was once a living, growing tree, no two pieces of wood are alike: this forces the craftsman to take special care when using hand tools. A moment of inattention or hurry can ruin a piece.”

At the same time, he adds, the very individuality of the wood inspires the artist to seek out its beauties and strengths.

Although Thomas has harvested and seasoned wood for use, he prefers to spend his time actively working the wood, and to this end, shops locally at Jensen Hardwoods in Walla Walla. Maple, cherry, and walnut are favorite choices for his kitchenware, all of which are finished by a customized recipe he created from sesame oil and beeswax, this last sourced from Octopus Garden Honey in Dayton, WA. Hours of research and multiple small batches resulted in a finish cream that not only protects the woodwork, but makes the hands happy as well.

Handcrafted wooden bracelets by walla walla woodworker Mark Thomas guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Handcrafted wooden bracelets by Walla Walla woodworker Mark Thomas, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

“Using the finish seems to keep my hands tough and calloused without being rough, scratchy, or leathery,” Thomas says.

“I cannot vouch for any medicinal properties of sesame oil or beeswax, but I have had numerous cancer patients say that it is the best thing they have found for treating the rashes on their hands from chemo.”

During the warmer months, Thomas shows and sells his work at the downtown Walla Walla Farmers Market, as well as the Richland Farmers Market on the Parkway. He also travels to craft shows in the Tri-Cities, Portland, Seattle and Spokane.

Describing his creative process as “rather varied,” Thomas explains that he is constantly trying new ideas, developing different designs, gently teasing new shapes and forms from the inspiration of each wood’s highly individual grain. The result is not just another spoon, but a spoon like no other spoon on earth. It is as individual as the person wielding it.

“I believe that finely handcrafted objects and the use of natural materials are important,” Thomas says.

“The work itself is very honest, and the finished objects tell the story of what the craftsman put into them.”

Wenaha GalleryMark Thomas is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 2, through Saturday, January 28.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

Torch-fired Coneflower necklace by Lynn Gardner, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Where Color Meets Metal — Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry by Lynn Gardner

Torch-fired Coneflower necklace by Lynn Gardner, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Torch-fired Coneflower necklace by Lynn Gardner, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

When you’re pulling together an outfit, the right accessories — earrings, scarf, necklace — make all the difference. So when jewelry creator Lynn Gardner dresses for her day job as an escrow officer and can’t find the right earrings, she goes down to her studio, puts together the perfect pair, and heads to the office.

Jewelry by Lynn Gardner

Jewelry by Lynn Gardner

“Life is too short not to wear art,” the Sandpoint, ID artist says. Unique, customizable, and vibrant, Gardner’s torch-fired enamel pieces are, as she describes it, “where color meets metal.” Frequently collaborating with her husband, Mark, who began his art career in high school as a jeweler’s apprentice for the princely wage of $1 an hour, Gardner operates her business under the name of Lonesome Dove Designs, maintaining an Etsy shop under the same name.

It has nothing to do with Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, the book, or the movie, but everything to do with an actual bird.

“When we lived in Arizona, I used to have an aviary in my studio with two diamond doves in it,” Gardner explains. “When one died, the other called out continuously for its mate. So I named my business Lonesome Dove.”

An aviary is a fairly unusual accoutrement to a studio, but Gardner loves animals. Upon moving to the much colder climate in Idaho, she disbanded the aviary except for a 28-year-old Cockatiel that rode in the front seat with Mark during the move, singing, non-stop, the Andy Griffith theme tune. At his new home, the bird was joined, eventually, by a new menagerie — six chickens (not in the studio), two black labs, two cats, and six horses, one of whom is a Belgian draft horse named Bob, adopted in a near-starved state from owners in Arizona.

Earrings by Lynn Gardner

Earrings by Lynn Gardner

“Bob’s been trained to drive, but honestly his harness weighs a ton,” Gardner says.  “I don’t like riding him as it takes a ladder to get on him and then it’s like straddling a sofa.

“So Bob is just basically a big yard ornament that eats a lot!”

But Bob, like the lonesome dove, has his part in Lynn and Mark’s art business. Visitors to their studio and students of the couple’s jewelry and pottery making classes enjoy the gardens and landscape on the Gardner’s 10-acre spread, after which everyone wants their photo taken with Bob.

“After a few hours of that, he hides in the back of his pen,” Gardner says.

Outside of the barn, Gardner finds inspiration for her jewelry in nature, and five acres of aspen and fir in the back of the property are a haven where she walks, meditates, picks up rocks and leaves, and plans what she will create next.

“My son has built trails winding through the forest and made benches for me to sit upon and reflect,” Gardner says. “Mark and I often find ourselves taking a bottle of wine and sitting on the bench watching the leaves.” Each is inspired differently, and the collaborative work they do reflects their individual personalities.

Necklace by Lynn Gardner

Necklace by Lynn Gardner

“Mark is very architectural and is inspired  by Frank Lloyd Wright. I am inspired by hobbits . . . I love the quirky. When we collaborate on pieces, we have a lot of fun doing it.” Much of the jewelry is a tandem affair, with Mark creating the setting and hand-forged clasps or chains, and Lynn responsible for the enamel and color work.

Recently featured in Belle Armoire Magazine, a publication showcasing wearable and hand-crafted fashions, Gardner is represented by galleries in Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona. Active members of Art Works, a local art cooperative that taps into the tourist industry of the area,  both Lynn and Mark take turns with other members in staffing the gallery’s retail store.

“The other day, when it was Mark’s turn to work, he was just ready to close up when a young couple came in, walked right to my case, and said they had to have one of my pieces as a gift for their mother who collects my work,” Gardner says. “That was a thrill!”

It is a thrill that she and Mark regularly, and gratefully, feel.

“We make each piece knowing that the right person will come along and be enamored with their purchase,” Gardner says.

“Nothing pleases us more than to be approached by someone wearing our work.”

Wenaha GalleryLynn Gardner is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, November 7 through Saturday, December 10. She will be at the gallery Friday, November 25, from 3 to 7 p.m., as part of the Christmas Kickoff Celebration. Free refreshments will be served.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

Copper Wheat metal sculpture by Richard Czyhold, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Upcycled Chic: The Recycled, Refashioned Art of Czyhold Metal Design

Copper Wheat metal sculpture by Richard Czyhold, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Copper Wheat metal sculpture by Richard Czyhold, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

One of the challenges of living in a throwaway society is that we are in danger of losing our connection to the past. For example, it’s difficult to comprehend that the ubiquitous plastic gallon milk jugs, which most of us see as trash, are possibly the blue-glass medicine bottles of a century ago. By the time we realize that what we call junk isn’t always rubbish, newly appreciated material may not be around anymore.

An altar design and pulpit by Ben Czyhold

An altar design and pulpit by Ben Czyhold

Thanks to imaginative, foresightful, and artistic people like the Czyhold (Sea’-Hold) family, however, the stuff of the past is not doomed to be buried in landfills. The three-person team — consisting of Richard and his recycled metal sculptures; Richard’s wife Judy and her recycled copper and found object jewelry; and the couple’s son Ben, a working blacksmith — creates new fashions from old things, or, in the case of Ben, from old techniques.

All three work in designated studio spaces at the Walla Walla family home, which continues to operate as a working farm. Indeed, it’s that farming background that launched the whole process, beginning in 1995 when Richard was commissioned to create a sculpture for the neighboring Bunchgrass Winery. Inspired by nature as well as an innate drive to recycle and reuse , he looked around at what he had — a vast quantity of farm machinery parts — and saw, not junk, but future native grass, cat tail, and wheat sculptures welded and melded from metal.

“‘When farm machinery is repaired, most farmers have what is known as a bone yard where they pile all the worn out parts,” Richard explains. “On our farm, we try to reuse parts, but when that is no longer possible, they become artwork.”

As the family became more involved in metal design, they found, ironically, that they didn’t have enough extra material to keep up with demand,  so they started looking around for more.

Bracelet by Judy Czyhold

Bracelet by Judy Czyhold

“We use found objects that come from all different sources, auctions, and yard sales,” Richard says. “Many times, other farmers and clients will bring me parts, bits and pieces of unusual things.”

Not all of these unusual things wind up in Richard’s sculpture, especially if Judy gets to them first. Using traditional metal smith techniques of riveting, brazing, or soldering, Judy transforms disparate matter such as recycled copper roofing, electrical wires, engine parts, and pieces of 40-foot aluminum sprinkler pipes into bracelets, necklaces, and earrings with no twin on earth.

“Scrounging in the junk bin at the shop has produced many great found objects to incorporate into my pieces,” Judy says. Literally, it’s a treasure hunt.

Fortunately for the couple and their voracious appetite for salvaged materials, their son Ben works primarily with new steel. What is old in his art is the occupation itself — blacksmithing — and the venue in which he does it.

Ben Czyhold in his blacksmith shop

Ben Czyhold in his blacksmith shop

“My shop is on the family property,” Ben says. “The overall design and layout of it was influenced by another blacksmith shop that once existed on my family’s land over 70 years ago.” Ben creates everything from household hardware to architectural ironwork, maintaining a product line of small hardware and decorative pieces for sale at various venues. And while much of his larger work — like a customized wrought iron porch railing, or gate hinges shaped like a fleur de lis — is not portable, he is, transporting the necessary equipment to the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market to do live forging demonstrations near Richard and Judy’s vending booth. Beginning in June, the family will also show at the Richland Farmer’s Market.

“We meet such great people from all over the world at the markets, and they really enjoy seeing Ben hammering,” Judy says. During the off-market season, the trio travels to 6-8 arts and crafts shows throughout the Northwest.

It’s something new from something old, beauty from trash as opposed to rising from the ashes. And thanks to the cosmopolitan nature of today’s community markets, Czyhold creations are in homes throughout the United States, as well as Europe and Japan. Innovation is timeless, Richard points out.

“Our favorite part of the whole process is taking something that would have been thrown away and transforming it into something that brings a smile.”

Wenaha GalleryCzyhold Metal Design is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, May 23 through Saturday, June 18. There will be a special show Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the gallery, where Richard and Judy will be on site with their artwork. A short distance away, at the Dayton Historic Depot, Ben will do live forging demonstrations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free refreshments provided at the gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Fishing Tackle Boxes Make Great Artist Studios — The Hand-crafted Jewelry of Anna Steinhoff

A selection of jewelry by Anna Steinhoff, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

A selection of jewelry by Anna Steinhoff, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Artists work in all sorts of spaces, but the waiting room of an airport has to be one of the more exceptional studio venues. Recently, while fellow travelers absorbed themselves in cell phones and digital notebooks, jewelry maker Anna Steinhoff settled back in a coffee-shop rocking chair and created wearable accessories until her flight boarded.

“I keep my supplies organized in tackle boxes,” the Dayton artist explains, “and I have one tackle box that has a little bit of everything for traveling.”

Bracelets by Anna Steinhoff, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bracelets by Anna Steinhoff, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Jewelry making, while it is intricate and detailed, is highly portable, an aspect Steinhoff discovered at the age of 13, when she originated her sideline career in yet another unusual place: the hospital room where she was receiving treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

“I had almost three years of chemotherapy treatments, so I needed something to do,” Steinhoff says. “I started making jewelry because I needed a good distraction — you can only watch so much TV.” When a local leather-craft store offered Steinhoff supplies in exchange for her creating projects and displays for their windows, the teenager used her time well: she fashioned intricate seed bead projects, bags, and moccasins, as well as tooled carved leather into wallets, purses or belts.

Jewelry artist Anna Steinhoff gives demonstrations during Art Walk at Dayton's Wenaha Gallery

Jewelry artist Anna Steinhoff gives demonstrations during Art Walk at Dayton’s Wenaha Gallery

Out of hardship grew something beautiful, with the skills Steinhoff developed during adolescence growing and flourishing into adulthood and a business, Blue Mountain Made, which she advertises primarily through her Facebook page of the same name. And while leather and beads still factor into the supply list, Steinhoff has added extensive variety to her material stockpile, scouring antique shops, outdoor stores, and the proverbially treasure-laden family attic for unusual design elements.

Assorted rings made by Anna Steinhoff, Many feature the primer cut from the end of a used bullet shell

Assorted rings made by Anna Steinhoff, Many feature the primer cut from the end of a used bullet shell

“I’ve used parts from bicycle chains, antique pocket watches, fish hooks, fishing flies, bullet cases, old belts, rocks, and flowers,” Steinhoff says. “A lot of my materials are recycled. Almost all of the leather I use are scraps from upholstery stores or even motorcycle chaps.”

An especially impressive find unfolded in her grandparent’s attic, where she stumbled upon a jar filled with brass buttons. A note within described the buttons as from Steinhoff’s great, great Uncle Frank Jobe’s World War I uniform, and it didn’t take long to incorporate this memorabilia into a leather bracelet.

Steinhoff loves leather, it being a major component in many of her pieces. A highly natural, organic element, leather adds a sense of the mountains and countryside, not to mention its ability to impart beauty without being “girly-girl,” an appellation Steinhoff avoids.

“I like wearing something that comes from nature and/or reminds me of the olden days when things were hand forged and simpler,” she says.

Handcrafted earrings by Anna Steinhoff, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Handcrafted earrings by Anna Steinhoff, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

“It’s important to me that I make quality goods, but I want them to have a hand-crafted, simple beauty to them — things you can tell that someone put a lot of time and love into.”

In addition to the wearers of her jewelry, Steinhoff has another, unusual fan named Tikka, the family Labrador with a leather addiction. Because the artist’s primary place to work is the kitchen table, she keeps a watchful eye out for Tikka, but sometimes the dog’s muzzle is quicker than the human eye.

“I have to keep leather put away, or she’ll eat it every time. She has actually eaten a lot of things I’ve made.

“I have some dangly leather earring’s I’ve made, and every time I wear them she nuzzles my neck/ears and it tickles. The more I giggle, the more she nuzzles and tries to nibble the earrings.”

Freeloader. But a fetching one.

With a day job in human resources at the Walla Walla Penitentiary, Steinhoff balances family time with commercial endeavor, and launched her business officially last year at Dayton’s Blue Mountain Station. She has recently been invited to share store space at Azure Mountain Botanicals in Dayton.

“I never know what I will make next,” the artist says. “I just like things that are simple, pretty, rustic, and handcrafted.”

Wenaha GalleryAnna Steinhoff is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, October 5 through Saturday, October 31. 

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

 

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

One-of-a-Kind, Unusually Unique — The Handcrafted Jewelry of Andrea Lyman

Handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

In the adroit hands of Andrea Lyman, there is no such thing as dross. Found items, vintage beads, dice, glass, metal, buttons, fabric trim, even seeds and nuts, find their way to new life and unusual expression in one-of-a-kind jewelry that genuinely lives up to that description.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman.

“I’ve been making jewelry for, man, decades,” Lyman says. “I have always loved anything slightly worn with its own natural patina, and I have always loved creating beautiful things.”

Lyman’s inspiration began early, watching her mother and grandmother transforming fiber into embroidered pillowcases, crocheted doilies, table coverings, and curtains.

“I remember how much time went into making the most mundane of household items into a thing of beauty for our family to enjoy,” Lyman says, recounting how she followed the matriarchal steps of creating with fabric before expanding her scope to hand-made art cards, large bags crafted from new and vintage textiles and trims, and encaustic, or hot wax, painting.

When she turned her attention to jewelry, at first she just made things for herself, then as presents for holidays and birthdays, then — at the urging of friends, family, and other gift recipients — for sale at craft fairs and festivals, gift shops, and galleries. What started as a hobby and a means of expressing herself soon grew into a second career, one pursued concurrently with her day job as a music teacher in both public and private schools, a position she held for more than 40 years.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

“I am no longer teaching in a school, but nearing retirement age (notice I didn’t say ‘retirement’ — whatever that means!), I now travel and mentor other music teachers in Waldorf schools throughout North America and a couple in South America,” Lyman says.

Presently residing in Cuenca, Ecuador — where, in her non-retirement, she serves as artistic director for the 45-member Cuenca International Chorale — Lyman incorporates exotic elements, like hand-woven basket beads from Ecuadorian artisans, into her bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Another favorite design element is the tagua nut, nicknamed the “vegetable ivory,” and prized for its ivory-like color and texture.

Earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

“I love making beautiful things — period,” Lyman explains. “I thoroughly enjoy creating something artistic, colorful and unique, and especially for the jewelry, making someone else happy or feel special.”

Through the years, many people have experienced this happy, special feeling, as Lyman readily takes on commissions for life’s important occasions — a necklace and earrings to match the mother-of-the-bride’s dress, or a birthday gift incorporating colors and items meaningful to the recipient.

“I love making things specifically for others.

“I think of them all the while I am working on the piece, so the piece ends up being imbued with my attention and good intentions for that  person.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

“I like to think that it is similar to an amulet or ‘medicine’ piece for them, bringing them luck, good fortune, peace, or whatever good things can come their way.”

Because she has an eye for the unusual and distinct, Lyman finds signature raw material wherever she goes, and every flea market, antique store, community market, or even yard sale is an opportunity to discover hidden gems that most people overlook. Back at her studio (“a space that is my own, filled with all of the things I need and the things that bring me delight”), Lyman pores through the drawers of her bead cabinet, which she has organized by color and shape and size.

“Something calls out to me — perhaps a color or a certain bead. I kind of let the materials tell me what they want to become.”

Part of any artist’s dilemma is that, after investing so much of their soul in a work, an eventual good-bye must be said if the artist is going to make a living at selling it.

“I only make things that I would love to wear, so I either wear all of them or none of them!” Lyman exclaims. That being said, there are pieces that, upon completion, never leave her possession, having been created for her own special occasion or specific outfit. It is at these times that Lyman feels the joy her clients experience upon possessing the perfect piece of jewelry.

“I love to play with the colors, shapes, and textures of the materials until a piece begins to create itself, guiding my hands, thoughts, and visions.

“My jewelry is truly wearable art, and each piece is unique.”

Wenaha GalleryAndrea Lyman is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, August 10 through Saturday, October 3.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.